With an A-list cast as long as your arm, and adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, August: Osage County has all the potential but none (or at least, very few) of the results.
Though pill-popping matriarch Violet and prickly daughter Barbara, played by Streep and Roberts, are performances worth a watch, the ensemble as a whole is too flat to generate the layered, heart-stopping drama you might expect from this film.
Ultimately, director John Wells is too scared of the source material; he doesn’t venture far enough into cinematic territory, but also fails to find this film’s claustrophobic potential.
Slow but bolstered by the scene-chewing relish of Streep and Roberts, August: Osage County tries but fails to be the next great take on American kitchen-sink drama. If you’re after lots of shouting over the dinner table, this is a fine watch; just don’t expect Tennessee Williams.
CAST: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard
DIRECTOR: John Wells
WRITER: Tracy Letts
SYNOPSIS: When their father goes missing, a dysfunctional family are called back to the homestead by their matriarch mother.